Well, it happened again just yesterday. A very distinguished, looking all put together Mom about my age looked me right in the eye and asked, "Will you teach me how to be a good mother-in-law?"(I hate that title, because it has such a negative reputation, the butt of all late night comedians.) Because I'm involved in several women's groups I hear this question at least once a week. And I love to encourage moms of grown children. For it seems that there's not much said about this particular season of life that comes to all moms eventually. I'm certainly not an expert on the subject, no indeedy. My two beautiful daughter-in-laws have offered me extended grace MANY times over the years, I'm sure. But I try hard to be the best mother-in-law that ever lived. I want to go down in history with that title.
I think I would like to develop a special connection for Moms of grown children, perhaps a website, a blog, a newsletter, a series of meetings, a conference, a retreat, a logo, etc. Can you see it?? We could title it Mothers of Grown Children International. We'd have to go international of course, for moms are the same everywhere. And we'd have the finest speakers and resources available to Moms. We could develop chapters all over the world. Wouldn't that be neat? We could learn from each other and the experts how best to "mother" from a distance. That's the key, cheer from the stands, quietly, smiling, always encouraging. It takes a strong determination to allow your children to take their turn at "making the world turn" with closed lips.
We just want to still protect them from all things that would harm them or make them suffer. Yet, growing into adulthood requires some pain, some lessons learned. For some kids, experience is their only teacher. And some just take a little longer to grow up.
But when that perfect someone is found, it's a time for great celebration. Moms are very wise to love that new family member unconditionally, always being ready to model a servants heart, a listening ear, a funny story, or a well needed hug and word of encouragement. Time and shared experiences knit people together.
Maybe I just need to hug one mom at a time and tell her that she's going to love her grown children and their spouses more than she ever imagined.